Each year, Mitcham Council presents Australia Day awards to individuals or groups living or working in Mitcham, acknowledging their outstanding achievements and contributions to the community.
At this year’s Australia Day Awards on Saturday, January 26, our Founder and CEO, Ian Steel, was named Citizen of the Year – at a celebratory presentation breakfast and BBQ held amongst the beautiful grounds of Carrick Hill. Guests enjoyed a smoking ceremony, official welcome to country, musical performances, as well as breakfast, and some traditional Aussie ‘snags’ (sausages).
Here is an article written about the award by Craig Cook for The Advertiser:
Ian Steel is thrilled to be Mitcham Council’s Citizen of the Year but mainly because it brings a greater focus on the plight of the disadvantaged children he seeks to help.
Mr Steel, of Mitcham, started charity KickStart for Kids in 2009, to provide at least one meal a day for children in need to stop hunger limiting their ability to learn.
He says these days he has never been busier, but that fact reveals a growing tragedy among our youth.
“It’s just really bad out there in the suburbs and getting worse,” Mr Steel says.
“This ice addiction among youngsters in the community combined with increased poverty with the price of utilities going up is causing a crisis.”
“We get busier and busier with more schools wanting to get involved because they’re the ones that know there are more kids doing it tough.”
KickStart for Kids currently serves around 50,000 breakfasts and 10,000 lunches each week in 360 schools across South Australia.
More than 800 volunteers help provide the service.
There are more than 100 KickStart for Kids mentors currently volunteering in schools around Adelaide spending an hour a week with a child who is at risk of disengaging from the education system, or someone who needs a significant adult in their lives.
We’re not doing it for accolades and to be honest, the kids don’t care about awards they just care about where their next meal’s going to come from,” Mr Steel says.
“We’re focused on how we are going to get them educated and drag them out of the poverty cycle.”
The operation’s latest venture is Camp Kickstart, that provides a care program during the summer holidays for 5-13 year olds.
More than 300 youngsters have been on camps this summer.
“It’s never-ending,” Mr Steel adds.
“We’re running five camps this holidays where we provide kids with meals, excursions, new clothes and haircuts and free medical attention.”
“We get good support but the busier we get the more money we need to raise.”
The more donations we get the more kids’ lives that we can make a difference.